Kevin Rudd: Bringing Them Home Analysis

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Introduction A little over a decade on from the monumental Bringing Them Home (HREOC, 1997) report recommending an apology, the Australian Labor Government, headed by Kevin Rudd, apologised to the Stolen Generations on behalf of all Australians. The 13th of February 2008 was a day of reflection for the nation as Rudd lamented past government policies legitimising the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families during the early to mid twentieth-century (Rudd, 2008). Rudd’s pledge to move “forward with confidence to the future,” and to instigate the “healing of the nation,” (Rudd, 2008, pp.167) was well received by many Australians as a first step towards reconciliation and tackling important issues pertinent…show more content…
During early settlement of Australia, Indigenous children were removed from their families to be conditioned to European values and work ethic to eventually take up positions in the service of “colonial settlers” (HREOC, 1997, pp.22). Despite being an acknowledged and engrained practice in Australia for a number of years before formal government acts legalising the removal of children, the Stolen Generations is a term coined to encompass those Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children forcibly removed from their families and communities as mandated by government policy between 1911 and 1969 (HREOC, 1997, pp.22). In an attempt to ‘merge’ the Indigenous population with the non-Iindigenous community, it was mandated that children should be removed from their families so as to lose their ‘Aboriginal identity’ (HREOC, 1997, pp.25). This policy was soon aimed towards ‘assimilation’ as opposed to ‘merging’; the major difference existing in the idea that all Indigenous people should live, work and be educated alongside ‘Whites’ (HREOC, 1997, pp.26). However, by the 1960s it was clear that the policy had failed to achieve its goal of forced integration; Indigenous people refused to “surrender their lifestyle and…show more content…
It has even been argued that the apology itself, whilst recognising the past, also at the same time fundamentally failed to acknowledge the implications of forced removal beyond the individual experience. In his research paper outlining the inherent limits of the apology, Alex Reilly of the University of Adelaide suggests that Rudd’s focus on individuals is the antithesis of acknowledging the harsh realities of the Stolen Generation (Reilly,

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